Office

A.L. Huber grows in scope and size

Coming off a record year in 2018, A.L. Huber is building on its longtime reputation for quality construction and positioning itself for growth in additional market niches such as healthcare, industrial, and information technology.

 “We are a 116-year old company and in a successful time of transition,” said A.L. Huber President Phil Thomas who assumed majority ownership of the company in 2015. “It’s been a great 3 ½ years. Along with my ownership, we have four additional owners as well. Our future is very exciting.”

 A.L. Huber’s revenue topped $83 million in 2018, up more than 70 percent from $48 million in 2017. Thomas says the growth is largely due to the firm’s strong preconstruction team, which has tripled over the past five years and has helped transform A.L. Huber’s business model.

“A lot of times, people think because we are doing preconstruction work that our pipeline is two years out, but we actually can build 6-8 months down the road,” Thomas said. “We collaborate closely with owner and design team and move projects through the design phase quickly. We know that if we can get the budget and schedule to the owner early, that means we don’t have hiccups when submitting for permits and don’t end up over-budget.”

In the technology market, A.L. Huber recently completed Fishtech Group’s new Cyber Security Operations Center in Martin City as well as Sprint’s new 5G Experience project. The firm reinforced its industrial division in 2018, completing a 315,000-square foot manufacturing facility for Aspen Products in Kansas City and a 255,000-square foot distribution center for TVH in Olathe. On the healthcare front, A.L. Huber is expanding geographically – currently completing construction of a hospital addition in Fall Rivers, S.D..

A.L. Huber’s founding family, the Huber’s, remain partners and very active in the storied construction firm, with Augie Huber serving as CEO. Thomas and Senior Vice President Keith Dorrian guide the firm’s day-to-day operations.

“One of the unique things about our story is that my only job has been at A.L. Huber, and Keith’s only job as been at A.L. Huber. I started here 35 years ago and Keith 23 years ago, so try to drive best practices from everyone we meet—including our peers,” Thomas explained.

With more than 100 years as a family-run business, A.L. Huber prides itself on low turnover. Once they start, employees typically stay with the firm for the remainder of their career.

“It’s still a family culture here, and we truly work hard at finding the best people and then we work hard at keeping them together.”

CBKC's Blue Parkway building hits full occupancy

Mid-America Assistance Coalition (MAAC) has leased 3,000 square feet at 4001 Blue Parkway, bringing the 69,000-square foot office building developed by Community Builders of Kansas City (CBKC) to 100 percent occupancy.

“With average occupancy for commercial real estate in Kansas City at 91 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, we are especially excited to announce full occupancy at one of our flagship developments,” said Art Chaudry, president and CEO of CBKC, KC’s largest urban core developer.

Built in 2003 with a $10.5 million investment by CBKC, the building was one of the developer’s first projects in the Blue Parkway corridor as part of its nationally recognized Mt. Cleveland Initiative. In partnership with Ross Simpson of Colliers International, CBKC has continued to transform the space into a community service hub, with tenants including Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Catholic Charities Kansas City-St. Joseph, Junior Achievement of Kansas City, and Legal Aid of Western Missouri. 

“Since the opening of this building, CBKC has carefully curated a group of like-minded organizations who are dedicated to serving the urban core, and Mid-America Assistance Coalition perfectly complements and completes the offering here,” Chaudry added.

MAAC offers information systems, training and advocacy to residents and social services providers.

“We're excited to join the tenants in the 4001 Blue Parkway space and look forward to serving Jackson, Clay and Platte County with our programs including our newly added Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP),” said John Rich, executive director of MAAC.

CBKC has developed more than $225 million in urban renewal projects in Kansas City since its founding in 1991. It currently operates more than 700 units of rental housing and 200,000 square feet of commercial real estate. 

For more information, visit http://www.cb-kc.org/.

Sprint HQ buyer Occidental eyes acreage adjacent to OP campus

Wichita-based Occidental Management expects to close on the Sprint Campus in the next 30 days. CEO Gary Oborny and President Chad Stafford talked with MetroWire Media about what led to the acquisition and plans for the sprawling Overland Park campus and adjacent land.

MWM: When did you first become interested in buying the Sprint campus?

Oborny: We heard that Sprint was looking at divesting at some point, so we started following opportunities to get closer to the situation and look at how we might connect on a potential deal. We sat back while Sprint figured out what to do. Then we contacted Cushman & Wakefield when the property was placed with them for a national search last year.  

MWM: How did your 2014 purchase of the former Overland Park International Trade Center (OPx) adjacent to the Sprint campus play into the acquisition?

Oborny: OPx was our introduction into the market. It helped us build relationships in Kansas City and Overland Park, so the Sprint campus was a natural fit. 

MWM: What is your short-term game plan for the campus?

Oborny: We want to enhance existing amenities and bring additional amenities for tenants who want to be on the campus. There are a number of cafeterias and food venues, so we will look at bringing in guest chefs and maybe freshening those spaces. We’re also looking at conceptual ideas to improve the overall aesthetics of the campus, so we will be look at revitalizing existing buildings to make them a little more contemporary... Eventually we’ll undergo a full rebrand of the campus. 

MWM: What will Sprint’s ongoing presence be?

Stafford: Sprint will continue to be the largest tenant, and the company is making a commitment to Kansas City with a long-term lease situation, but that’s all we can say right now. Sprint and Occidental are both focused on recruitment and retention of associates and employees on the campus. 

MWM: What is the current tenant mix and how do you see that changing?

Stafford: There’s a good mix right now between health care and financial services companies. There is also good infrastructure for technology-related companies, so there is opportunity there. 

MWM: What additional opportunities do you see? 

Oborny: We are looking at the 60 acres near 119th and Nall that have never been opened to commercial development. We see an opportunity to bring amenities to that vacant land such as hotel, restaurants and retail, but for right now we have to close. 

MWM: This is a huge transaction. What’s next for Occidental?

Oborny: Yes, it’s a big opportunity. We see a natural progression for us in Midwest cities, so development opportunities in the $100-$300 million range are certainly always of interest.

Wichita developer sets sights on upscale office park near Lenexa City Center

Wichita-based Vantage Point Properties has entered the Kansas City market, announcing plans to develop Reflections at City Center, a sprawling Class A office complex in Lenexa.

"Our vision is to create an environment that is both aesthetically and functionally different from any other office park in the Kansas City area," said Paul Jackson, president and founder of Vantage Point Properties. "Every detail - walkable paths, architectural lighting, and sculptures - will come together to create a comfortable, enjoyable place to work."

The commercial real estate company just closed on 32 acres at I-435 and Renner Road and envisions a walkable, upscale 315,000-square foot campus featuring reflection pools and three restaurants. The Lenexa City Council has approved tax increment financing for the project, which will break ground pending identification of an anchor tenant. 

"The project will provide a unique opportunity for a company to come in and make the site their own," Jackson said. "They will really be able to create their own footprint here. We're ready to make a deal happen with the right partner."

Jackson, who co-founded Vantage Point Properties in 1992, sees opportunity in the relatively stable Kansas City market.

"It has a track record of steady growth," Jackson said. "And Lenexa is the perfect spot for our first project."

Matt Stover and Tracy Wilson of Colliers are marketing the property for lease. 

Corbion tastes success with new Lenexa North American headquarters and innovation lab

Food ingredient research company Corbion has opened its new 58,000-square foot North American headquarters and advanced laboratory facility at 8250 Flint St. in Lenexa. The new $13 million facility consolidates the company's 200 employees into one regional operation.

Developed by Block Real Estate Services (BRES), the building is less than a mile from Corbion's longtime location at 79th and Quivira and marks the completion of Pine Ridge West Business Park, a flagship development for BRES.

"BRES has been excited to assist Corbion with the development of a new high-end facility in Pine Ridge Business Park,” said Kenneth G. Block, managing principal at BRES. “As a fellow industry leader, Corbion’s commitment to quality and innovation matches BRES’s commitment, which is visible in Corbion’s new facility and the nearby BRES apartment development of WaterSide Residences on Quivira.

The facility includes a state-of-the-art bakery and demonstration kitchen, as well as meat research and application labs. Designed by Finkle + Williams, the building reflects the company's focus on sustainability through local sourcing, clean energy, centralized waste management, composting and recycling programs, according to a release.

The new headquarters and lab will inform the Dutch company's approach to helping create a safe and sustainable global food supply. Corbion has had a presence in the KC region for almost a century.

“We constantly encourage our employees and our customers to ‘Keep Creating,’ because the world urgently needs better solutions to the challenges we face,” said Andy Muller, Executive Vice President at Corbion. “The innovations we help create make a difference in the lives of people everywhere – people just like us. We try to merge our areas of scientific expertise with what we know and care about as consumers so we can develop solutions that make a meaningful impact for everyone, including ourselves and our families.”

Local vendors were chosen for the facility, including food services by Westport Flea Market and beverages by Messenger Coffee and Tea Market.

Block added that Corbion was a good partner for BRES because the companies are aligned both professionally and philanthropically.

“Corbion’s involvement in the community and focus on giving back align with BRES’s commitment to philanthropy which has made this an ideal partnership,” Block said.

Corbion employs a total of 350 in the region.